Thursday, 8 July 2010

Aiyoo Rama!

Aiyoo Rama! Stumped Again!

The “liberal dharma” brigade is back with the Hindu Rasthra theme and this time it’s called “Ram Rajya”. I disagree with almost every one of their positions and this one in particular – that ‘Ram Rajya’ is an ideal to strive for.
The rare exceptions where I agree with them are in the area of universal themes (e.g. dynasty politics is bad for a democracy).

Circus tents pitched at different foras on the internet use the concept of “Hindutva” to ridicule the left. People in these circus tents drop conservative phrases like “liberal dharma” (which I have written about in the past) and “Hindu Rashtra”. The latter never fails to send a chill down my spine.

To borrow a phrase from their own lexicon, most of these circus tents are populated by “handmaidens” of the BJP. They chose to begin their critique of the Bandh call by first declaring the BJP guilty by associating itself with the left. This is not surprising as their definition of liberal makes them extreme conservatives – intolerant of anything/anybody that seeks to protect public wealth and resources from being exploited by private interests.

Now they are claiming that self-interest is in national interest and that we need to move towards a “Ram-Rajya”. They quote heavily from some scripture or the other on the rules that Lord Ram had for the his kingdom. Their argument for economic liberalization comes not from contemporary analogy but from mythology that did not consider both genders equal and all people equal.

They are welcome to quote from these scriptures and texts. These texts are not allowed to be disputed in discourse because of their religious status. This makes the quoting of these texts a dogmatic exercise.

We are on the brink of another Hindutva wave and the left (very worryingly) seems to be oblivious. The left response is weak because it suffers from a similar problem. Leftist political parties in India are also dogmatic. They discuss Marx and Trotsky but react to every critique of the two with an ad hominem response. Marx had a set of economic recommendations for a nation state– but to treat them as indisputable and as the only approach is dogmatic. A typical debate tends to slip into polemics and rhetoric faster than the blink of an eye. The Hindu Rashtra brigade says that the left uses dogma and they explain this by being dogmatic themselves. This is a game that the Hindutva brigade will win based not on content but on decibel levels.

My take on the bandh
  • Everybody has a right to dissent and protest. That said, one cannot be coerced or forced into participating in dissent. 
  • I refused to participate in the Bandh because Sanitary workers in Bangalore could not participate – they needed their daily wage. They have been fighting for fair wages for months now and I believe that it is India’s national interests for its citizens to align with their cause. When they go on strike – I will be striking with them.
  • Inflation is a problem across every state in India including states ruled by the BJP and the Left. We need to look at how we can manipulate fuel subsidies to reduce the burden on the poor. Inflation is about big business interests and BJP is aligned with those interests as much as the Congress is. 
  • The congress will not give a dam about the Bandh. Fuel prices WILL be de-regulated. MMS is from the Brentton-Woods school which means his polices are neo-liberal.
Allow me to leave you with a small take on "Ram Rajya" -
Disclosure - I have used this poem in another post as well.

जो पुल बनायेंगे,
वे अनिवार्यतः
पीछे रह जाएंगे
सेनाएँ होंगी पार
मारे जायेंगे रावण
जयी होंगे राम
जो निर्माता रहे
इतिहास में
बंदर कहलाएंगे।

'अज्ञेय'  |


  1. I am sorry if I say I did not understand the msg.
    However, bandh was generally supported in most of the cities.
    I have a very little knowledge of politics, but, no party works for the people, no party has any ideology, no party has any agenda except to remain in power. BJP and other parties are trying excatly what Cong is trying for.

  2. Thanks for the comment.
    The message was around the use of dogma and I was trying to be diplomatic. ;-)

    On the current state of political apathy - in agreement.